When Bruce Duffy’s The World As I Found It was first published more than twenty years ago, critics and readers were bowled over by its daring reimagining of the lives of three very different men, the philosophers Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A brilliant group portrait with the vertiginous displacements of twentieth-century life looming large in the background, Duffy’s novel depicts times and places as various as Vienna 1900, the trenches of World War I, Bloomsbury, and the colleges of Cambridge, while the complicated main characters appear not only in thought and dispute but in love and despair. Wittgenstein, a strange, troubled, and troubling man of gnawing contradictions, is at the center of a novel that reminds us that the apparently abstract and formal questions that animate philosophy are nothing less than the intractable matters of life and death.
About the Author
Bruce Duffy is the author of the autobiographical novel Last Comes the Egg (1997), and—to appear June 2011—Disaster Was My God, a novel based on the life and work of the poet Arthur Rimbaud. An only child raised in a Catholic middle-class family in suburban Maryland, Duffy sees the 1962 death of his mother—essentially by medical malpractice— as what pushed him to be a writer. Duffy graduated from the University of Maryland in 1973, and has hitchhiked twice across the United States, worked construction, washed dishes, hopped freight trains with hoboes, and reported stories that have taken him to Haiti, Bosnia, and Taliban Afghanistan. Today he lives just outside Washington, D.C., works as a speechwriter, is married to a psychotherapist, and has two grown daughters and a stepson. Writing in Salon, Joyce Carol Oates named The World As I Found It as one of “five great nonfiction novels,” calling it “one of the most ambitious first novels ever published.” A former Guggenheim fellow, Duffy has won the Whiting Writers’ Award and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Award.
David Leavitt ’s books include The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer and the novel The Indian Clerk, a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner Prize and the IMPAC /Dublin Literary Award. He co-directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Florida.Bruce Duffy was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Irish American parents. His novels include The World as I Found It and Last Comes the Egg. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. He lives in Maryland.